Flea Bombing

Flea bombing: every pet owner probably has to do it at least once. No matter how many flea collars we put on our animals, medication we apply to the backs of their necks, or generally how cautious we are, those little bugs just seem to find ways past our defenses on occasion.

Flea bombing, or flea fogging as it’s often called now, can be complicated and stressful. We recently had to go through it in our house, so I thought I’d detail the process to provide help or reference for others.

Everyone, human and animal, needs to vacate the premises during a flea bomb. The length of time the flea bombs need depends on the brand, so make sure you read the label carefully before using it. In addition, you’ll want to remove (or stow away) your cat’s litter box, fish’s tank, bird’s cage, etc., or anything that comes into contact with your pets’ mouths, including their food dishes and chew toys.

That same logic applies for people as well. Make sure you store away any dishes or other food preparation implements; you don’t want them getting covered with the mist from the flea bomb. Put anything (cutting boards, mixers, etc.) that usually rests on the counter away in a mostly airtight place, like a cupboard, or even dishwasher, oven, or refrigerator.

Before you activate the flea fogger, turn off anything in your house that might spark. This includes any device with a pilot light; if you have a gas hot water tank instead of an electric one, you’ll need to switch that off. If you have a gas stove, unplug it.

Most flea fogger packaging also recommends turning off the fridge. Because the fridge cycles on and off, there’s a small chance that it might spark when turning on; since the fogger is highly flammable, it could cause an explosion. Also, turn off any heating or air conditioning units you have running.

If you suspect that the fleas have gotten into your pet’s or your bedding, you can leave that behind to get fogged. You’ll want to wash it before using it again. But really, it’s up to you and how much you’re worried about fleas; in most cases, you don’t have to flea bomb any bedding, you can just wash it.

Each individual flea bomb doesn’t usually cover a wide radius (the size of which again depends on what type you buy) so if there are some rooms you’re not worried about bombing, just don’t place a bomb in them. If you really want to be sure the fog doesn’t go into the room, you can close the door and stick a towel under it.

You’ll want to vacuum any affected carpets before and after the bombing, and continue to vacuum at least once a week and as much as once a day for around a month after. Vacuuming stimulates any flea eggs that might be in the carpet.

Bombs don’t affect the dormant eggs, so vacuuming before fogging causes more of the eggs to hatch and thus be neutralized by the bomb. Vacuuming after the bombing helps to further clean everything up.

After the allotted time of fogging, open all doors and windows and let everything air out for at least an hour before permanently returning to the house. You can even set up some box fans to further help the air flow.

Wash any tabletops, counters, or stove tops that may have been affected by the bomb. If you’re worried about anything else that was in the fog, you can wash it as well.

Flea bombing is a stressful process that often takes up nearly the whole day. Still, if you prepare well and break it down into increments, you can get through it. Just make sure you carefully read the label on the flea fogging kit and follow its instructions exactly, as the details of what to do may vary depending on the specific product.

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